Liquor before beer and you’re in the clear; beer before liquor and you couldn’t be sicker. For ages we have heard this old rhyme – hell, even my gran says it when she gleefully sips on an amaretto and cranberry or drinks her beer. This ditty is meant to warn a person away from the dreaded post-adult beverage consuming hell that can effect upwards of 77% of the drinking population – the soul crushing purgatory that is the hangover. Except, it really doesn’t hold true. So, let’s cover this.
We’ve all (except those remaining 23% who are scientifically referred to as jerkfaces) had a hangover. We all know the evilness that takes over after eventually waking up after a night of crossing that line of just enough drinking and high stepping it into the field of drunkity-drunk-drunkeness.
You’re queasy, eyes squinty, it feels like a minor earthquake is happening your body is shaking so bad. And don’t even bring up the pounding in your noggin – it’s worse that Animal from the Muppets having a drum off with John Bonham and Keith Moon. You assume the fetal position, rolled up in your blankets chanting “OH GAWD…OH GAWD…MAKE IT STOP!” How, oh how, do you make a hangover stop? Is there a magic cure? A silver bullet? Sadly, no, there isn’t. But, there are tips and tricks and methods that you can use together to help get rid of a hangover when one shows up.
But before we go into battle with and vanquish the hangover monster, a bit of science first. Because if you’re feeling miserable, there’s nothing like learnin’ to help deepen it.
So, what causes a hangover exactly? No one knows. Seriously. Medical professionals and the scientist people have not been able to pin-point what it is about excessive alcohol drinking that makes a hangover manifest itself. Some studies have shown that alcohol might disrupt the biological rhythms out body relies on (think sleep cycle and things of that nature); other studies seem to say that alcohol withdrawal is the culprit.
Some really interesting and recent research suggests that impurities in alcohol can make you feel nauseous and hungover. The sweeter or darker the drink, the higher the level of impurities. These impurities are created in alcoholic beverages during the distillation process, and these contribute to the nasty stomachache you get with your hangover. The best way, these studies have found in getting rid of the nauseusness, is drinking water. Drinking lots of water, then, does two things: it rehydrates your body and dilutes the impurities left in your belly.
Help get rid of a hangover
Drink water. This is a no brainer, right? But seriously, it’s important to stay hydrated while you’re drinking alcohol (not that we actually follow this advice). Remember that rule of thumb – a water for every alcoholic beverage you drink? It does help keep a hangover at bay since your liver can only process a set amount of alcohol an hour. And when you flood your liver, it takes even longer to filter the booze, which in turn can lead to a hangover.
Water isn’t enough if you are hungover. You need to drink electrolyte loaded beverages too — Gatorade, Pedialyte, coconut water, or broth — these can help in putting all the salt and potassium you’ve lost back into your body.
Grease up before you go. No, I don’t mean get ready for an oil wrestling match. I am talking about eating fatty foods has the effect of lining your stomach and digestive tract, which helps to limit the speed in which your body absorbs the alcohol you are consuming. Some people even down a spoonful of olive oil or coconut oil before going out since it is supposed to have the similar effect.
Consume sugar while you’re drinking. Wait…what?! Yea. Some studies have shown that sugar may help you speed up your body’s ability to process alcohol, which means a potential reducing of the risk of a hangover. But, remember that it’s important to eat sugar while you’re drinking, not before – sugar metabolizes wicked fast. Try juices between cocktails. Or maybe sucking on hard candies.
If you are nauseous, try to eat some ginger. For centuries, people have taken ginger to reduce nausea and vomiting. Try crystallized ginger in the aftermath of a night of drinking – or add some fresh slices to your tea.
Watch out for prickly pear cactus extract or capsules. While it’s still being tested, one study has shown that taking 1,600 IU of prickly pear extract five hours before drinking reduced risk for severe hangover by 50 percent. HOLY FRIJOLES!! TAKE MY MONEY NOW!
And the most effective and easiest is to rest and sleep. If you can, just lounge around and nap. Sleep is when your body naturally heals and takes care of itself.
While researching techniques on how to get rid of a hangover, I started to get curious as to what people ACTUALLY do to help fight a hangover. So, I put out a call to friends and family to see what their answers would be. Some of them are incredibly specific, like mine, which I will share with you.
That night after drinking, I drink two full pint glasses of water while downing 3 Excedrin extra strength. If I am able to, I take a shower so hot I look like a lobster when I get out (the steam helps to draw impurities out, much like a traditional sweat lodge or sauna). If you’ve never buzzed or tipsy showered before, I recommend it at least once. They are AMAZING.
On the day after drinking and I have that damned hangover, I take that HOT HOT shower (if was too into my pints the night before to). Then I find myself the single biggest fountain coke I can find (it has to be fountain, not bottled), take 2 more Excedrin, a banana then hot-n-spicy chicken ramen – spiked with hot sauce and pepper (SO much spice, but SO delicious). And if I survive the day, I reward myself with Chinese food later.
Or if I can’t do that, I chug a XXX Vitamin Water, down two more Excedrin with a second XXX, eat a banana, and pray until Chinese food later.
Joel – “Drink 32oz water with a good couple of inches of ginger root mixed in. Or I like to drink tomato juice with mashed up peppercorns and garlic stirred in.”
Jeremy – “I swear by getting a 32oz lemon-lime Gatorade and a 16oz Rockstar. I chug half of the Gatorade, mix in the Rockstar, and sip on the remaining mix.”
Katheryn –“Be sure to drink a bottle of water before bed. I brush teeth IMMEDIATELY after waking up, and then eat Eggs Benedict, greasy hash browns covered in sour cream, and cranberry juice to wash it all down. I need to take a HOT HOT shower right afterwards…then I am brand new and ready to go!”
Emma – “Cheap cheeseburgers and fries. Always.”
Maria – “Purple Gatorade. ONLY purple Gatorade. And ALL the fries I can get my hands on.”
Jenny – “When I hit my limit, I need to eat that night. And then a large glass of milk the next morning.”
Danyl – “Breakfast. Definitely bacon, eggs, and toast. And I need coffee.”
It was so interesting to see all the answers when they rolled in. Hopefully within some of these real life hangover fighting techniques, as well as the list of the ones science seems likes, you will find one that helps you in getting rid of that hangover. Now, go take a nap for a bit. You deserve it after reading this article squinty eyed, with a splitting hangover headache pounding away in your brain. Cheers! (just not too much cheers.)